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Trimarni is place where athletes and fitness enthusiasts receive motivation, inspiration, education, counseling and coaching in the areas of nutrition, fitness, health, sport nutrition, training and life.

We emphasize a real food diet and our coaching philosophy is simple: Train hard, recover harder. No junk miles but instead, respect for your amazing body. Every time you move your body you do so with a purpose. Our services are designed with your goals in mind so that you can live an active and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Trimarni Blog

A blog dedicated to exercise, nutrition and my life

Filtering by Category: "National Nutrition Month"

National Nutrition Month & a day I'll never forget

Marni Sumbal

What a great message for the 2013 National Nutrition Month theme: "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day." According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the theme "encourages personalized healthy eating styles* and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices. Registered dietitians play a critical role in helping people eat right, their way, every day."

Forget about diet fads, food trends and extreme dietary modifications. This is the month that you can start learning about your own needs and making changes that make YOUR body happy.

If you are new to my blog, you may not know that I have only been a RD since June 2011. It was a loooooonngggg journey of becoming a RD and I have many of blogs to remind me of the dedication and time (and money) that was required to earn my RD credential. Prior to my RD journey, I was enjoying life as a post-graduate student, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology. In May of this year, I will be submitting my CEU's for the state of Florida to maintain my license status as a RD. It has been an enjoyable journey over the past 5 years or so as I have learned so much about the human body as well as helping others reach personal goals.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are a few blogs that I did as dietetic student, dietetic intern and as a RD. The passion never went away (it only grew stronger), however, my knowledge as a nutrition "professional" has grown tremendously and I am absolutely loving my credential and all the information I have learned along the way.

March 2011
March 2009

I wanted to share one blog that has really stayed with me over the years. I believe that in life, we are constanly challenged by society. Often times, we feel pressure to fit in and doing the "right" thing can be confusing. Food can be very a tough issue for so many people and as a RD, there is a constant pressure to give a quick fix to make someone happy or to follow the masses and to not be an outcast. There can also be pressure to be extreme, to stand-out and to break the mold. Lastly, there is pressure to give people what they want, even if it compromises your own beliefs, thoughts and philosophy. 

Seeing that the theme of NNM this year is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day", it seemed appropriate for me to share this story with everyone again as one day I'll never forget......a day that I was hoping would inspire and motivate others

Winn Dixie Grocery Store Event - with RECIPES!

Marni Sumbal

What a fantastic event at Winn Dixie. I was totally in my element, with my table being positioned right in the middle of the fruit and veggie section....heaven.

Winn Dixie has been wonderful for allowing me to share my creations and love for wholesome eating. What better than to close National Nutrition Month with a colorful display, my stuffed veggie and fruit friends (from IKEA - thank you CINDY!), having my friend Amie help me out - who is an amazing photographer (see pics below or check out her website here. She is also TRX certified if you want an amazing workout! I highly recommend using her services - she's a mom of 3 and a runner - she can help you reach your goals!) and of course, speaking to open-minded customers about making a few swaps in the diet and welcoming a new way of eating and living life.

I hope you enjoy a few of my creations from my Winn Dixie event. If you are part of a group, company, club or individual who would like me to make some creations for your next event (or article), let me know by sending me an email.

For more helpful info, check out my website and click on MEDIA - you will find my Winn Dixie event info, followed by some helpful documents.

Lettuce - bulk up any "meal" with lots of nutrients and only 15-30 calories per cup!
Red leaf
Leaf lettuce
Swiss chard

My favorite peanut butter...Smuckers All Natural.
Which goes perfect with WASA Crackers (especially pre-workout)

Popcorn - a "whole" lotta goodness in this grain!

1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweet)
1 tbsp butter (ex. Olivio)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 tbsp canola oil

1. In large pot, toss kernels in oil. Cover.
2. Turn heat to medium heat. Let cook for 4-5 minutes before needing to attend to kernals.
3. When kernels start to pop, give a shake (off burner) and continue to let kernels pop for 15-30 sec, shake and then pop again on burner.
4. When kernels begin popping quickly, tilt lid to allow a little heat to escape.
5. Turn heat a tad lower and let kernels continue popping until they finish. If you think they are burning, turn off heat, shake and set aside.
6. In large container, pour popcorn. Add butter and cocoa powder and shake until combined.
*Trick - you can pop 2 tbsp kernels in brown papper lunch bag for 90 seconds for quick popcorn (cooking time may vary) without oil. Fold bag over 2-3 times until sealed and then pop away!

Nutrition facts:
Makes ~5-6 cups
Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 67
Fat: 4g
Carbs: 7g
Protein: 1.2g
Sodium: 17mg
Fiber: 1.5g

Tahini and chive couscous

1 cup couscous + 1 1/4 cup boiling water (Prepare according to package)
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/8 cup tahini paste
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
Pepper, parsley, salt and curry - to taste
Recommend: serve with dark greens

1. Prepare couscous according to package (5 minute "cooking" time)
2. In large bowl, combine all ingredients as couscous is "fluffing".
3. Add couscous and combine with fork.
4. Refrigerate or serve warm.

Nutrition info:
Serves 4
Serving size 1/4 cup

229 calories
6.5g fat
36g carbs
2g fiber
7g protein

Fruity breakfast barley

1 cup barley + 3 cups water (Prepare according to package)
1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup slices pears
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown or white sugar

1. Prepare barley according to package (allow 1-1.25hr for cooking).
2. Combine fruit, cinnamon and sugar in container (or bowl). Stir to combine.
3. Add warm barley and mix well.
4. Refrigerate and serve cool or heat in microwave for a warm breakfast.
*recommend to serve with 1/2 - 1 ounce your choice of nuts or seeds

Nutrition info:
Serves 8
Serving size 1/2 cup

112 calories
0g fat
26g carbs
2.75g protein
3g fiber
4g sugar

*Interested in one-on-one consulting at Spa ME (904-824-9804)
or have a comment, question or concern?
Email me @ and visit

Thank you again to Amie for the wonderful pictures!

And to my wonderful clinical dietitian friends at Baptist Medical Center Beaches for letting me use the helpful display board.

Adult-friendly "diets" - portion distortion

Marni Sumbal

Yesterday I had the honor of being invited by my friend Alexia, to listen to Dr Judith Rodriguez speak at the Us group's 9th annual luncheon and lecture. The topic was "weigh your choices". Eat right for lifelong health and weight management.

Dr. Rodriguez discussed popular diets, the red flags for what may appear to be "healthy" but is simple another "fad" diet and tips as to how to control and manage eating and weight. Although the info was not all new to me, there were a few key statements that I took away, as well as a different point of view and way to view food.

One of the most popular discussed topics was the issue of portion distortion. "It's not about where you eat, but how you eat" says Dr. Rodriquez.
Adults seeking body composition changes, performance gains or improvements in overall health often blame the issue of being "unhealthy" on bad food.

Courtesy of and I think this picture speaks for itself.

However, what we know beyond just controlling portions for weight loss/management is that increasing the amount of fruits and veggies in the diet is beneficial not only for promoting satisfaction/filling but fruits and veggies contain a host of nutrients, valuable for metabolic processes, overall health and longevity.

When I was at the Lunch n' Learn, we were served a beautiful salad at the UNF University Center ....

Thankfully, this salad was followed by a vegetarian-friendly meal of pasta w/ ricotta cheese and marinara sauce, green beans and almonds.

You see, only I knew that I needed more for a meal than a salad and even the portion of pasta (which was appropriately portioned controlled) did not fill me up. I was satisfied but I didn't feel re-fueled.

You see, only I knew that I had done an intense workout that morning (followed by a recovery smoothie) and that I know my body better than anyone else.

To think that I can, need or should eat the same amount, types and style of food as 100+ other people is kinda silly, wouldn't you think? Same quality of food...yes, but different compositions.

Yesterday morning, my workout consisted of:
2:15 hr bike
4 x 6 min Z4 w/ 2.5 min recovery
5 min EZ spin
2 x 25 min Z3 (build to upper Z3 in last 3 minutes) w/ 3 min EZ
5 min EZ spin
5 x 2.5 min Z5+ w/ 1 min recovery
Cool down

Followed by 25 min Campy interval run:
6 x 3 min 6:20 min/mile average w/ 1 min walk

Sorry - the salad and pasta didn't work for me, but I know my body well enough (and what works for me) so I appropriately planned a snack for after the meal (nuts and fruit in my car), had a filling smoothie to recover from my workout and then had a snack when I got home and finished my day with a filling dinner. No binging, no cravings, no feelings of "out of control" or mindless eating but rather just a little empty feeling in my stomach. Life goes on....

When discussing portions with the employees at Baptist Beaches Medical Center and asking individuals if they read food labels to portion control, most people said "yes."
When asked to play my game of guessing the fat, sugar, calories and/or sodium in the following foods, most people said "um...I guess I really don't remember those things when I read the food label."
1 ounce peanuts
1 cup popcorn
1 serving triscuits
1 cup smart start cereal

I had a can of coke with 14 packets of sugar just to catch the attention of those who do choose coke as a "pick me up" when working in the hospital, just to open the eyes as to what they are really drinking.

No surprise to me, most people said that they wouldn't be able to stick to the portions that I used as my examples. I agreed.....
But the key is that portion control compliments a plant strong diet. Research is strong when it comes to the power of fruits and veggies adding "volume" to the diet, thus promoting satiety and to bump up the nutrient value of a meal. Thus no food needs to be off-limit, one just needs to understand where he/she is in his/her life journey (in regards to food for fuel and for health) and to then find a way to allow food to enhance life and encourage a step closer to a more balanced lifestyle.

I feel the strongest statement I made when talking about portions is demonstrating a meal (on the board) and then showing that the meal I made of :
1 slice bread, 2 servings veggies, 2 servings fruit, 1 serving non fat dairy and 2-3 ounces lean meat was 380 calories.
The can of soup that I had infront of my "plastic" meal was 400 calories.

Certainly, there are ways for every person to find what works for him or her.
Here are a few tips and suggestions to make your diet a bit more personalized:

1) Focus on health outcomes, not a number on a scale - sure, every diet can be evaluated for healthy and unhealthy components. Discover your own definition of "health"

2) Have a personalized approach to improving your body composition, performance/fitness and health. Avoid mass marketed diets - you are an individual, enjoy your one and only body.

3) Be sure your style of eating is family friendly. It should have flexibility and should be practical for the long-term (even after you "lose" weight or "get healthier".

4) Focus on behaviors - grocery shopping, cooking/meal prep, social eating, traveling and mindful eating.

5) Avoid fad diets - what should raise a red flag? According to Dr. Rodriguez: fad diets will show quick weight loss, expensive purchases, encourage a limited selection of foods (avoiding other foods), encourage skipping meals (or eating minimal times throughout the day), taking diet pills or diet products (or supplements in excess due to avoiding certain food groups) and/or encouraging weight loss without a physical activity component. Additional signs of a fad diet - it's magic, unlike anything ever tried before, it's a miracle, rigid menus.

How can you get started?
1) Journal your food - find your strengths and weaknesses. I can't tell you how many times people tell me they are eating "good" by eating a salad for lunch..but if only they could stop "binging" on sweets in the evening. When I counsel these patients, we address breakfast, snacking, meal composition and/or having a plan for alternatives. There's no right answer as to how one can approach dietary habits, it involves constant work and communication between dietitian and client. It may be hard at first, but it's worth it for the client.

2) Focus on small steps - imagine if you ate the same, moved your body 30 more minutes a day (ex. walking) and reduced your portion of 1 food item by 300 calories a day. Talk about an easy "diet". Spend a few days working on one or two small changes. Aim for progress, not perfection.

3) Plan for stress and feeling "off" in life, don't put blame on your body - don't wait until everything is perfect, because life will never be perfect. Address food patterns and behaviors associated with stressful, mindless eating can be powerful in terms of making changes. Your focus should be on taking life day by day and focusing on what you can control today, to make for a better tomorrow. Address the many areas in your life that can help you feel a bit more balanced.

Kid-friendly nutrition

Marni Sumbal

What a busy Monday morning. Two presentations. Two totally different audiences.

My first talk was at Oceans Palms Elementary. One hundred and sixty kiddos were selected to participate in a health and wellness talk by an "Ironman athlete". The kids were hand selected based on demonstrating two of the schools' pillars: Caring and Trustworthiness.

When I was asked to speak to the school, I hoped for a March opening.....what better than to speak to the kids during National Nutrition Month!

With many of the kids training for their first kids triathlon, I knew they would be excited to see some of my toys, so I couldn't resist bringing in my bike, aero helmet, Ironman medals and sunglasses. I am not a professional athlete but the kids sure did make me feel like one!

I decided to show a Youtube video of the Ironman "You will do this" that always sends chills down my body when I watch it on the 2 nights before an Ironman. The kids likewise thought it was SO COOL.....I could hear them whisper..."Wow, 26.2 miles of running!!" I guess it is kinda crazy if you think about it.

I absolutely love speaking to kids as I feel the message that I send to kids is not far off from how I "counsel" adults. Love your body, fuel your body, have a healthy relationship with food, eat more wholesome food, move your body daily and don't be afraid to try new things.

Sadly, when working with adults, body image is often a priority and unrealistic habits and often the diet and exercise routine is taken to an extreme. For with kids, it's easy to see when a child is "healthy". They sleep better, act better, think better and of course, feel better. For adults, they want to feel better and be more healthy but diet and exercise are only two "controllable" parts of the picture. For many adults are too stressed, overwhelmed and often filled with anxious or obsessive thoughts and many times, health is compromised not at the cost of "not being good" with nutrition and/or exercise but due to daily lifestyle choices. Sure, some are not within your control but others are modifiable..that is, if you are willing to change certain areas of your life.

Kids are amazing. They are open to new things and like to do what their friends are doing. They also think everything is cool and different and despite their words, they really do listen. They are also really good at learning from others by their actions, for often you don't have to say anything but kids can pick up on what you are trying to do or achieve.

To start my talk, I wanted to discuss one of the pillars: Caring.
I asked the kids if they care about their body and I responded by telling them how I care about my body...

1) I care about my body because I do not like getting sick. Therefore, I make sure I get lots of vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies on a daily basis.
2) As a triathlete, I care about what I put into my body, so I spend 1 hour a day making yummy creations in my kitchen so that I can fuel my body for my workouts.
3) I also care about my body SO much that I want to try to reduce my risk of getting diseases, like cancer, diabetes or have a heart attack. Therefore, I make sure that I am always having fun when I exercise, like running with dog. I also make sure that I get a good sleep most days of the week and always keep a positive attitude.


After picking 10 volunteers to be my tasters, I found it important to talk about good and bad food. Two words that are common in the adult vocabularly.
I asked the kids if there are bad foods in this world. They screamed YES. I asked them what are bad foods? The kids responded...
Ice cream

To the adults reading my blog...sound familiar?

I expected those responses and mindful of eating disorders starting at a young age, as well as relationships and habits with food, I followed up their comments by telling the kids that there are no bad foods. I kept it simple and straightforward "There are lots and lots of foods out there that we should eat every day because we know that they improve our health, make us think better, help us feel more energized, give us stronger muscles and help us from getting sick. It's nice to save those other foods, like desserts, ice cream and sugary cereals for special occasions and to really enjoy them when you eat them."

To all those parents out there, you wouldn't tell your kids they are fat and need to lose weight on a strict diet or give them a list of "off limit" foods that they can never eat because they are bad. So, why do you do it to yourself?

Certainly, many people are dying from weight related problems. Take a minute and look at yourself in the mirror. Is obsessing about losing five pounds really worth it if you are living a healthful lifestyle and feel your life is filled with quality? If you do need to lose weight, will long-term success come from drastic short term actions? Often, diet and exercise are two parts of a big puzzle. Putting all the pieces requires work and time and not just trying to be perfect at two things.

If you were able to manage your weight all your life, have ample energy to partake in daily activities or competitive sports and you felt like other areas in your life were in balance, would you feel the need to have good or bad food, off limit food lists or engage in extreme exercise just to be able to eat whatever you want while trying to maintain a lean physique? Hopefully, you are saying no. For with kids, they are often aware of their body but they also don't truely appreciate how nutrition and exercise impact their overall health..both short and long term. So would extreme dieting or "bad" food lists be practical for a child like it is, in the eyes of many, for adults?


I told the kids that I have five powerful foods that I want them to try. And in order to shape up your plate, it’s very important to choose a variety of foods that don’t have a long ingredient list. In other words, you want to eat a lot of foods that are grown straight from the ground/earth and they aren’t made in a factory.

My five powerful foods are filled with lots of vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, fiber and protein. These foods are just a few of many foods that will help you remember information, get stronger muscles, have more energy and of course, help improve your health for the rest of your life.

I told the kids that I know that sometimes foods can be kinda "plain" or boring, especially the first time you try them....So, I came up with a FUN way to make these five foods even more powerful by combining them with other foods and calling them my creations.
(Sound familiar??)

Here's my top five POWERFUL foods for the kids to try. I provided some basic info for you to tell your kids (or to inform yourself) as to why they are so powerful in the body.
1) Barley - this is a whole grain, filled with fiber so it is really good for the inside of your body and makes your digestive system very happy. Barley can be eaten any time of the day but it is really good for breakfast with some strawberries and cinnamon.
2)Oranges - How can you not love a food that is filled with natural sugars? They are filled with vitamin C to keep you from getting sick and they are good for your skin, your eyes and your heart. Another food that I like is chocolate but I like dark chocolate because it is a bit more powerful than milk chocolate. Rather than having dessert or candy after dinner, how about having some fruit every time you want something sweet or try a little dark chocolate with an orange for a sweet dessert after dinner.
3) Plain yogurt- Yogurt can be kinda sour when it is plain but I made it extra powerful by adding some granola and banana slices for a nutrient-packed creation. Yogurt is awesome for your bones and your muscles to keep you strong and growing thanks to vitamin D, Calcium and protein.
4) Kale- Kale is from the cabbage family and it is filled with antioxidants, vitamin K and vitamin A and it helps reduce your risk from cancer and other diseases. I came up with a neat creation by cooking the kale in the oven with a little olive oil and sea sat and I made kale chips. This is a yummy way to snack on veggies during the day, especially for an afternoon snack.
5) Avocado- Sometimes people eat it as a dip, like guacamole and other people like to slice it and put it on salads and sandwiches. I made a creation with an avocado by mashing it up so it is a perfect dip to go with whole grain crackers for a side dish for a school lunch. I added a little parmesean cheese for a little extra taste. Avocados kinda look like a pear and they are a fruit (due to the seed inside) but they are a great source of heart healthy fat for the entire body, especially for the heart and the brain.

I asked the kids:
1) Do you think you can eat my favorite top five foods on a daily basis?
2) Are you going to go home and tell your parents you want to grocery shop with them and pick out your favorite foods that are grown from the earth?
3) Are you going to spend more time in the kitchen, making your own yummy creations?

Here's a helpful handout that I gave to the can find it on my website at (Click on RECENT NEWS - OCEANS PALM ELEMENTARY)